Bucs look to avoid Spurs double

Jose Riveiro. | BackpagePix

Jose Riveiro. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 5, 2024


Jose Riveiro. | BackpagePix


Orlando Pirates’ coach Jose Riveiro says there’ll be no room for complacency when they face basement dwellers Cape Town Spurs tomorrow night in Orlando.

The next few months are going to be challenging for Pirates. They’ll have to ensure that they always win to have any chance of repeating last season’s success.

Pirates won the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup, while they finished second in the DStv Premiership behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns. So, having already defended the MTN8, expectations are that they’ll defend the Nedbank Cup and second spot.

Riveiro, who’s tasked with guiding his troops to that success and more, says they are not deterred by the challenge as it is part and parcel of their job.

“It’s a challenge – that’s why we are in the sport,” the Spaniard explained. “That’s why we decided to have this life that we have.

“Last season, we managed to collect 54 points. The objective this season is to improve that tally wherever it takes us, regarding the finish.

“But we are not playing alone. There are other teams who have the same passion and motivation as us. We must fight for it.

“It won’t come just because we are Orlando Pirates or how many trophies we have lifted in the past. We are playing to improve the history of the club weekly.”

Pirates will want to improve the club’s history by winning their third successive Soweto derby against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday at FNB.

However, there’s still the small matter of welcoming Cape Town Spurs to Orlando tomorrow. So, will the two games differ in terms of importance?

“We know that when (certain) games come, the expectations are high,” Riveiro replied. “That started one month ago (when we played Sundowns) so we are used to it.

“But we know that meanwhile we must play other games where you can get the same number of points. There’s nothing extra because of the opponent.”

Pirates have ample reason to want to beat Spurs. Not only will it aid their aim to finish the season near the top or their derby preparations, but they’ll also avenge last year’s loss.

Spurs stunned Pirates at Athlone Stadium late last year, contributing to the Sea Robbers’ roller-coaster ride in the first half of the season in the league.

A lot has changed since then, though.

Spurs are starting to pick up points in their bid to avoid relegation after winning back-to-back league games. Hence Riveiro feels they can’t underestimate them and concentrate on the derby instead.

“We need to collect points from every game,” Riveiro said.

“Spurs are probably in the best moment of the season, so less room for us to be complacent. They are coming from a good moment and showing that they are capable of winning games. So, there’s space for destruction this time.”